Clear The Deck
Back before flat screen monitors and fancy computer work stations, I found that I was having an issue with my computer arrangement. Sometimes a very small thing can be extremely aggravating, especially when it’s every day and lasts all day. Mine was not being able to easily get my keyboard out of my way. I needed the desk or counter space in front of my monitor for paperwork.
I decided the simplest solution was raising the monitor so the keyboard would slide under it, and out of my way. This got me thinking about a sort of tower made from plywood which would supply a shelf for the monitor, a slot for the flat PC box I had at the time, and one for the power distribution strip. All very neat and convenient.
From that idea, I thought having shelving units on either side might get the phone and other desk clutter off the work surface and, dare I say it, out of my way. In addition, I could add task lights beneath the shelf to light my work surface. Excellent.
Using the first design tool I had, HP’s Drawing Gallery, I cooked up what this might look like as a guide for building the pieces. Which is what I did, in my basement at home. It came out good enough for me to use in my office at SBS (Satellite Business Systems) while doing Satellite Orbital Control work.
The results with Drawing Gallery were crude at best. But the tool was not designed for this application, any more than Visio. I just seem to like pushing the software to places it wasn’t intended to go. Even this first attempt was a far cry from charts and graphs.
Once I got this far, my imagination drove me further. Now I thought of how nice it would be to have a system of computer furniture which could be assembled completely tool free by nearly anyone while providing a desk work space clear of clutter. So this is how the name came about… clearing the deck of whatever was in the way of doing the work.
This is where Visio came in. Once I had a better design tool, I went after the details for all the parts. My focus was on the ease and simplicity of assembling the parts. To this end, I drew up all the parts as ready to put together.
The secret of course, was using pins and latches as used on added dining room table leaves. I added shelf-like support brackets, which just slip into provided tracks, to lend support without legs or support panels for banging your knees into. Additionally I allowed cable & wire run space in all the elements; desk surface, lower rear panels and the shelving units. This helped make it look very clean with all the ugly cables hidden out of sight.
Of course, as thing will do, the funds for actually getting the original prototype built was prohibitive beyond belief. Well, I was unemployed at the time which helped not at all. So yet another design dream was left in the computer. At least until now when I finally feel free to let it out. The current computer equipment has greatly outgrown my tower concept, but the base furniture and shelf units are still quite practical. The assembly principal is still unique and still practical.